By its nature, marketing requires new ideas. Unlike some organizational functions, where basic processes follow a fairly consistent routine (e.g., accounting), successful marketers are constantly making adjustments to their marketing efforts. New ideas are essential for responding to changing demand by the target market and by pressure exerted by competitors. These changes are manifested in decisions in all marketing areas including the development of new products.
In addition to being responsive to changing customer tastes and competitive forces, there are many other reasons why new product development is vital. These include:
- Customers Change – Over time customers’ needs may evolve. What attracted customer interest in the past is not guaranteed to do the same in the future. This is especially the case for products targeted to narrow age groups, where not only are customers’ needs changing but customers themselves change (e.g., from young child to early teen). The constant influx of new customers, along with continually losing existing customers, requires frequent evaluation of programming to ensure the network is meeting the needs of an ever-changing target market.
- Attract Different Customers – Almost all companies face a point at which appealing to the current target market is not enough to grow the business. Instead, the company must attract different customers, who are not yet major purchasers of the company’s products. To appeal to new customers often requires a different set of products than what the organization presently offers.
- Profits in Newer Products – Many new products earn higher profits than older products. This is often the case for products considered innovative or unique which, for a period of time, may enjoy success and initially face little or no competition.
- Helps With Repositioning – New products can help reposition the company in customer’s minds. For instance, a company that traditionally sold low-priced products with few features may shift customers’ perceptions about the company by introducing products with more features and slightly higher pricing.
- Keep Ahead of Competition – Fierce global competition and technological developments make it much easier for competitors to learn about products and replicate them. To stay ahead of competitors marketers must innovate and often create and introduce new products on a consistent schedule.
- Fill Out Product Line – Companies with limited depth in a product line may miss out on more sales unless they can add new products to fill out the line. For example, companies may have a strong high-end, high priced product but lack a good quality, mid-price offering
- Expand Product Mix – Some firms market seasonal products that garner their highest sales during a certain time of the year or sell cyclical products whose sales fluctuate depending on economic or market factors (e.g., slow sales during economic downturn). Expanding the firm’s product mix into new areas may help offset these fluctuations. For manufacturing firms, an additional benefit is realized as new products utilize existing production capacity that is under-used when seasonal or cyclical products are not being produced.